By: Suzanne Hartzell

In 2020, COVID-19 reared its ugly head and turned the world upside down. “Staying home, eating in, binge watching, contactless delivery, working remotely,” were the new catch words. We moved much of our lives indoors and began to realize just how important our home environment was to our happiness.

With the sudden transition from office-based work to remote work, we began to reassess and redesign our living environments. In light of the stresses brought on by the pandemic, we realized the importance of creating healthy, relaxing, and environmentally friendly spaces. The need was urgent to create efficient home offices, relaxing living spaces, and sustainable outdoor areas.

The Evolution of Workspaces

The pandemic accelerated the work-from-home movement, necessitating efficient home offices. Remote workers now understand the importance of a dedicated workspace that minimizes distractions, enhances productivity, and promotes overall well-being. The design of home offices was paramount in achieving these goals. Ergonomic furniture, proper lighting, and noise reduction measures are key elements in creating a conducive work environment.

Efficiency and excellence in home offices go beyond aesthetics. Creating a space that supports both mental and physical health is crucial. Ergonomic furniture, such as adjustable chairs and sit-stand desks, promote comfort during extended work hours. Adequate lighting, preferably natural light, can improve mood and productivity. Additionally, noise-cancelling solutions or designated quiet areas within the home can minimize distractions, contributing to higher work quality.

Office Design Journal tells its readers, “In today’s remote work era, the importance of a soothing home office cannot be overstated. It’s where productivity meets peace.” Don’t forget to sprinkle the space with some nice art and a few plants to clear the air.

The Importance of Relaxing Living Spaces

In the wake of the pandemic, the boundaries between work and personal life blurred for many remote workers. This made the design and ambiance of living spaces more critical than ever. A relaxing living space is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and reducing stress. Soft furnishings, soothing colors, and clutter-free layouts can create a calming atmosphere.

According to Architectural Digest, “A well-designed living space that prioritizes comfort and tranquility can have a profound impact on your mental and emotional health. It becomes a place where you can recharge and find solace. Creating a relaxing space within your home is essential for maintaining a sense of calm in today's fast-paced world. Investing in a relaxing atmosphere is an investment in your well-being.”

Recharging in Nature

Last, but not least, the significance of outdoor spaces has also been amplified by the pandemic. Many people sought solace in their gardens, balconies, or nearby parks as a means of escape from the confines of their homes.

Creating sustainable outdoor spaces is not only beneficial for personal relaxation but also for the environment. Incorporating native plants, reducing water usage, and practicing responsible landscaping can contribute to ecological preservation. Sustainable outdoor spaces provide a sense of connection to nature and promote mental health and overall well-being.

Environmentally Friendly Designs—Inside and Out!

The pandemic underscored the importance of environmentally friendly design in our homes and outdoor spaces. Sustainable practices, such as energy-efficient appliances, proper insulation, and the use of renewable materials, are becoming standard considerations in home design. Embracing these eco-friendly principles not only reduces one's carbon footprint but also leads to cost savings in the long run. Moreover, environmentally conscious design can foster a sense of responsibility and mindfulness toward the environment.

Our featured student this month, SEED Lab graduate, Noura Bishay, Social Impact Urban Designer, and CEO of NPB Design Studio, San Diego, emphasizes this point saying, “Crafting innovative and impactful design solutions enhances aesthetics but also creates a positive impact on both people and the environment. Thoughtful design makes people feel safer, freer, and happier and promotes healthy, inclusive living styles. It inspires more sustainable and resilient futures.”

Summing It Up

The COVID-19 pandemic and the work-from-home movement redefined our relationship with our living spaces. The creation of healthy, relaxing, and environmentally friendly spaces has never been more critical. Efficient home offices support productivity and well-being, while relaxing living spaces help maintain work-life balance. Sustainable outdoor areas offer sanctuary and contribute to a greener future.

By valuing and investing in these good spaces, we can enhance our quality of life and make a positive impact on the environment. Let’s take the hard lessons we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and create a more harmonious and sustainable world.